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Elio Motors selects Comau for powertrain and automated assembly systems for 3-wheel vehicles

11 February 2014

Elio Motors has selected Comau Inc., a global leader in the development and implementation of engineering solutions for sustainable automation and production, as its automation partner to build its three-wheel, high efficiency vehicle. Comau will provide Elio with powertrain and automated assembly systems. Slated to begin production in the fourth quarter of 2014 and available in the US by the first quarter of 2015, the Elio will be built in a plant in Shreveport, LA.

Comau Powertrain Systems will be used to machine and assemble the Elio’s inline 3-cylinder, 55 horsepower engine, while Comau Body Welding Systems will design, build and install systems to assemble the vehicle’s welded space frame and apply the interior and exterior composite body panels (floorpan, bodysides, roof, doors, hood, trunk and fenders) to the frame.

Elio is also considering using Comau’s After Sales team to conduct plant health assessments in order to optimize reutilization of assets, as well as Comau Robotics for specialty robotic applications throughout the assembly process.

We are very pleased to be partnering with Elio Motors on the assembly of this unique three-wheel vehicle. “Our long-standing leadership in customized automation systems for the automotive market will optimize the entire assembly process for the Elio providing energy efficient manufacturing solutions.

—Kirk Goins, COO Comau NAFTA

I am humbled and honored to have Comau be an important part of our project. Comau technology is used by car manufacturers all over the world and Elio Motors is fortunate to have their expertise and experience as part of our team.

—Paul Elio, Founder and CEO Elio Motors

The Elio, shown at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in early January, features two wheels in front, one in back and seats two people (one in front and one in back). It carries a $6,800 price tag, gets 672 miles (1,081 miles) of highway driving on one tank of gas (84 mpg / 2.8 l/100km highway), can reach speeds of over 100 miles per hour, and is engineered to a 5-star safety rating.

Part of the Fiat Group and headquartered in Turin, Italy, with an international network that spans 13 countries, Comau uses the latest technology and processes to deliver advanced turnkey systems that consistently exceed the expectations of its customers. Comau specializes in body welding & assembly, powertrain machining & assembly, robotics & maintenance as well as environmental services for a wide range of industrial sectors.

Visitors to the North American International Auto Show had a chance to see Comau (COnsorsio MAcchine Utensili) equipment in action: Comau provided and installed a complete assembly system featuring advanced manufacturing process automation technology including the ComauFlex VersaPallet system, a BIW manufacturing system with integrated in-line fast transfer, six Comau robots and a comprehensive energy monitoring system within the Ford Motor Company display.

Ford’s exhibit at the NAIAS featured four vehicle bodies representing different levels of the assembly process. Two elevator stations brought the four vehicle bodies down to the show floor level for public viewing.

The Comau-Ford partnership extends across the entire lifecycle of the product:

  • Ford deploys Comau technology globally to support and execute BIW manufacturing, powertrain systems, laser applications and more.

  • Ford uses the ComauFlex system to optimize its assembly process and resource use.

  • ComauFlex enables Ford to enhance production capabilities, reduce work-in-process, improve material logistics, save energy and minimize the floor space required for BIW manufacturing.

  • ComauFlex supports high-speed transfers, high density welding, flexible parts handling, flexible logistics, complete model flexibility and random build sequence manufacturing (up to four unique models).

  • Comau’s plasma transferred wire arc (PTWA) thermal spraying technology is used for the production of advanced steel-coated aluminum engine blocks.

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